Wednesday, April 13, 2022
The Australasian College of Paramedicine welcomes the Australian Labor Party’s announcement this morning of its $135 million election pledge to pilot 50 Urgent Care Centres throughout the country to help ease pressure on hospitals, and we look forward to working with Labor to progress this initiative and ensure that paramedics are part of the workforce solution for these services.
The Urgent Care Centres being proposed are based on the New Zealand model, where our members are already working in integrated health teams with doctors, nurses and other health professionals to boost primary health care services in communities. Similar models can also be seen in Canada and the UK, where Community Paramedics, working outside of jurisdictional ambulance services, are key to delivering essential primary care to the community.
Paramedics are ideally placed to play a vital role in the management and care of these unplanned and acute patient conditions that make up the bulk of presentations to Urgent Care Centres. They have vast knowledge and a wide range of skill sets, a broad scope of practice, and are an essential, if often overlooked, part of the healthcare system.
With access to health services deteriorating in the past four years (Mirror Mirror Report 2021) a pressing issue for all Australians, particularly those in rural and regional areas, this a positive step forward in addressing the challenges routinely being faced and will help address health professional shortages in communities that have long struggled to attract a full complement of health care practitioners. It will also help reduce the burden of low-acuity presentations to hospital emergency departments, where ambulance ramping and access block have become acute issues nationwide.
Paramedics are part of this solution, and we welcome the opportunity to take our place alongside our fellow healthcare professionals in these centres.